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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Joyce White Reviews Prize-Winning Poet

Song of the Wayward Wind… and Other Poems
By Margaret Havill “Mandi” Reid
128 Pages
ISBN: 1-4116-2343-6
Buy new: $17.95
Also available for Kindle

Reviewed by Joyce White

Song of the Wayward Wind… and Other Poems  is a poetry book but if you look deeper, it is also an art book with beautiful womanly illustrations and verse straight from the soul of the author. In her poem, No Sinner, Margaret says, “I am no sinner, any more than you. We each of us, make do, as best we can/ To compensate for inequalities/ Bequeathed us from our genes, as any man…” ending with perhaps…The dye was cast unfairly from the first, That makes our best like someone else’s worst.” Who but a loving teacher would grade the best and worst “equal?”

In her poem, Could it Be then, God? - - we got it wrong? She leaves us with the question of whether we as sinners misread the Ten Commandments. “Had we as humans…misread the message encoded in your parable of Sin?”

In her poem, That Apple, she describes, “That apple thing. It just won’t wash, our time. For her one bite, we’re all cast into slime?” I get the feeling she was not talking about just Eve in the Garden of Eden; but about most of us women who are tempted to forsake our core values to stand equal among men. Margaret was highly motivated in equal rights for women.

In her poem, The Coming of Wisdom, a 13-year old girl is as eager as she is afraid of morphing into woman. The girl wonders, “Shall she romp on skates and swings or lean on the arms of kings?” I feel both were questioning why most of us girls are taught to lean on rather than support our men? In this day and age, so many of us women have to be strong to support our men who are unemployed or overseas at war.

In Ode to Wisdom, Margaret’ romanticizes about young maidens with enlightened souls from Time’s slow mill, Still speak through scrolls and books to waiting hearts; their inspiration breathes; their fires still blaze…Inscribed her songs of love. We hear them still. For where she walks, her music ne’er departs.”
In My Face Margaret festers about aging, “O Aphrodite, were you kind as fair, and turned a furrowed face upon the world and hailed all wrinkles signs of beauty rare and evidence of wisdom yet unfurled, What misty lovers now would crowd my face To find the fount of beauty, love and grace?”

One of my favorite paintings is Chagall’s, The Village, and Margaret pays homage to this painting in her Ekphrasis Poem, Chagal, “Come then Chagall and occupy our skies, Set merry fiddlers dancing on our roofs…As sea-green cows, it seems, somnambulate as easefully as images in dreams. Your skies, Chagall, bring magic to the mind to make us see where intellect is blind.” Check out Chagall’s painting at An Ekphrasis poem is what I like to call…a conversation between two works of art, in this case her poem and the painting.

The title of this book and poem, Song of the Wayward Wind, was named Poem of the Year by the Central Coast Poetry Society in 1993 and is making a comeback with my favorite lines describing a darkened forest, “…You knew the time before my father’s time, and my father’s father keeping your peace, keeping our secrets, still.”

Margaret ends her 128 Page, 8-1/2x11 Poetry & Art Book, with Unexpected Gifts, “New ways of thinking unwrap, never then despair” This is absolutely gold for those who enjoy poetry and abstract art that is wonderfully illustrated by Margaret Havill “Mandi” Reid. Smooth and easy reading. FIVE STARS for Amazon.

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